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Hands-on with the curvy LG G Flex phone (pictures)

A curved OLED display, flexing chassis, and a self-healing rear paint finish: the G Flex has some weird and wild new offerings, but isn't on sale in the US yet.

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Scott Stein
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Lynn La
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1 of 12 Scott Stein/CNET

LG G Flex has the curves

After announcing it had successfully developed curved smartphone batteries, LG unveiled the G Flex handset in Korea earlier this month. The phone features an arched touch screen and rear control buttons, and is slated to come to the US next year.

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Subtle in shape

The Flex's curve is continuous and subtle. It actually seemed to make the otherwise immense 6-inch OLED display a little easier to manage: the thin, curving form serves to minimize the extra-wide flatness that normally would follow a phone this size.

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Pressure pushing down on me

Like its name suggests, the Flex does indeed flex: an LG rep encouraged us to try, and we pressed the device down on the table face first, against every instinct not to. The handset was meant to survive being sat on, and during our brief time with it, it held up against the pressure.

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Battery curves as well

Inside the device is a contoured battery. According to LG, the 3,500mAh battery uses patented technology that takes advantage of its unique shape to perform more reliably.

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The bend is only natural

Though its curve may not hug a leg as well, it actually matches the shape of a wallet held in your pants for a while (as CBS' John Miller was quick to demonstrate).

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The power to heal

The rear finish, which LG says is "self-healing," is derived from paint finishes in the automotive industry. Hydrogen in the finish is involved in the surface expanding over time after being scratched, sealing up any damage.

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Powerful innards

Powering the device is a 2.26GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor (the same blazing fast CPU that's seen in the Nexus 5 and the LG G2 flagship) and a 450MHz Adreno 330 GPU for ultrasmooth gameplay.

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Not alone in the market

Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Round (left), the curve goes top-to-bottom. The curve works particularly well for videos: the HD display has a 1,280x720-pixel resolution and seemed particularly clear and glare-free.

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No control buttons here

As previously mentioned, the G Flex houses its key control buttons on its backside (and not along its edges), just like the G2. As such, it will feature the KnockOn functionality, which allows you to wake up the handset by tapping on the touch screen twice.

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Approaching at different angles

Another photo with the Galaxy Round (left). Here, you can see the difference in curvatures: the Round bends horizontally, and the G Flex curves vertically.

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New software and UI features

Additional new features to LG's Optimus 3.0 user interface include Q Theater. This lets you view photos and videos directly from the lock screen. There's also an urgent call alert, which flashes the LED notification light when you miss several calls in a row from the same number.

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Souped up with high-end specs

For shutterbugs, the Flex (right) is equipped with a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera. It runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and is LTE enabled. Other features include 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory, and NFC.

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